When I was admitted to HBS on December 9, 2021, I was so excited that I flew to Boston the next day to spend the weekend exploring the city, and visualizing what this next chapter in my life could mean for me. By January, I decided not to make a traditional “New Year’s Resolution”, list and instead chose one theme for the year which I could use as a north star for how I would prioritize my time and energy. My theme for 2022 was Community, so here are five quick thoughts on building community at HBS.

1. Invest in Your Community Early

    One way I did this was by hosting a series of Zoom happy hours for fellow admits during the spring. By the end of our series of 13 calls, I was surprised how many people reached out to share that they decided to become roommates after chatting on my calls, or decided to travel with someone they met on a call. Acting as this intermediary brought me a lot of joy and made me feel more confident that HBS would have a community for me.

    2. Reach Out to New Friends Before START (Orientation) Week

      There’s nothing wrong with waiting until you arrive on campus before starting to meet new people. However, there are so many ways you can build relationships in advance. I had the opportunity to backpack with a few other incoming students over the summer, and it led to some of my closest friendships on campus. Having these friends before the beginning of the first semester helped me feel like my community was coming together.

      3. Leave Room for Community Activities

        There will be so many ways you can spend your time at HBS, and there’s no “one way” to do it. This can be going to an event hosted by one of the student-run organizations or having a picnic in the park with a few new friends. Either way, you’re investing in the people who will have meaningful roles in your life and solidifying your new community.

        4. Prioritize the Section

          Your section of around 92 classmates will be one of the most incredible aspects of the MBA experience. These section mates will inspire you, challenge you, and be a critical support system during your time on campus. Early on, it’s so important to make time for your section, both through larger section-wide events and small group activities.

          5. Don’t Stop There

            You can meet so many incredible people outside your section. Through student-run organizations, recruiting activities, or just meeting friends of friends, you can build a remarkable network here. Although the roughly 92 section mates are key to the experience, the ~1000 classmates in total offer a wider range of affinity groups and interests for you to explore. Taking the time to widen your network will reap amazing benefits for your blossoming community.

            HBS is a special place. Investing your time in the community here - in your section, clubs, and other groups - will have positive effects throughout your time at HBS, your career, and your life.